Twenty University of Northampton computing students have just finished work on the Barclaycard Challenge; a Dragons’ Den style competition which saw the students develop prototype computer software for the financial giant.
Now in its second year, the Barclaycard Challenge offers Northampton students the chance to gain industry experience in a real business environment. On day one, the students are given a real business related problem and then asked to come up with the best possible solution in the two days available. On the second day the students present their strategy for problem resolution and their prototype software to a judging panel, featuring three senior Barclaycard managers and one University representative.
The University’s Dr Mark Johnson, Deputy Head of Computing explained: “This year, the groups were asked to investigate an alternative to the two pieces of software Barclaycard currently use for their workload management, and rework the current business model with one integrated software solution for Management Information and workflow monitoring. The students did a great job, with the wining group developing a working prototype solution in just two days.”
“The collaboration with Barclaycard really helps students to feel confident that they have the skill set needed to be successful in industry. This is especially useful for final year students currently applying for graduate positions in the computing field.”
Student Ankit Gupta enjoyed the challenge, commenting: “Thank you so much for giving me an opportunity to prepare and give a formal presentation in the corporate world. I appreciate the mentor’s help and support throughout the event. I feel very grateful to be a part of such a programme; I learned a lot and gained a very nice experience from it.”
Robin Anderson, Product Owner for Global Payment Acceptance at Barclaycard, commented: “We found each of the students to have a well-developed understanding – and complementary mix – of business drivers, commercial acumen and technical expertise that ensured everyone came away having learned something from the two day challenge, particularly the Barclaycard volunteers who offered up their time to volunteer or judge, and found in the students a refreshing aptitude for creative problem solving and lateral thinking.
Each and every group offered up a solution to the proposed challenge that both met (and exceeded) the expected outcome, the winner differentiating themselves only in the clarity and sophistication of their final presentation. It is a point of some significance that all Barclaycard colleagues involved left the office that night ‘buzzing’ with the great energy of this year’s collaboration, and all expressed a desire to support the development of our relationship with University of Northampton further.”
The University of Northampton is one of the country’s top performers for student employability. In 2015, for the third year running, the University maintained a student employability rate of 96 per cent* of students in work or further study six months after graduating. Within the Computing (Software Engineering) pathway, 22 out of 24 graduates were in full time, graduate level employment just three months after completing their course.
For further information regarding the Computing degree at the University of Northampton, click here.
Pictured left: Gherghinoiu Daniel, Hussein Ajam, Zaid Amjed Alhusainy and Rashad Salim at Barclaycard HQ. Right: Ankit Gupta, Jakub Kotlewski, Luke Kirby and Laura Gardner at Barclaycard HQ.